Things Great and Small

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun at my job. Ironically, it hasn’t been because I have an especially fun work environment, it has been because my work environment sometimes feels like the ER but with crises of a housing variety and I’m the one who coordinates all the staff, among other things.

No, the reason I’ve been having fun is because in those moments where I’m being contacted many different ways simultaneously and doing a thousand things in immediate succession, things that would not normally strike me as that big deal seem like the end of the world. So, instead of dealing with them immediately and/or being a jerk about these things to my coworkers (and dealing with the subsequent guilt of that) I decided to do something new.

Since I confess on this blog frequently about what an impatient person I am, I decided to wait. Instead of doing things in the heat of the moment I make a note and wait to do it until later once my emotions or frustrations have blown over. I take a break when I need to and do other basic things to take care of myself on the job (which is easy for some people but not always so easy for me).

And the funny part is how a lot of my “crises” take care of themselves. This little method has been shaking me out of my own perfectionism, which creeps up on me more than I care to admit. I do what I can with the tools I have and sort of go with the flow. Stepping away is helpful. While this all probably sounds rather obvious it’s not something that I see easily or frequently put into practice in the schools I attended or the places I’ve worked. With the speed and interconnectivity of everything it’s harder to get away, things are more easily blown out of proportion and most of all we live in a society that worships the act of doing.

It’s kind of a bold claim but I can point to many instances where prayer is majorly criticized by secular society because it is not seen as enough of an action. And I would go so far as to argue that it doesn’t matter what we do or how well it works in accomplishing our objective so long as it appears we are “doing” something. It’s the calm, the inaction that really offends because it shakes off that sense of urgency and importance and, as in my case, reveals that humbling and humorous truth that the world is a lot bigger than we are, and stretches far beyond the little problems and difficulties that we encounter in our day.

Even the larger scale problems that affect not one, but many, lose that sense of doom when I remember to have a perspective that stretches beyond myself and my limited abilities to include frequent prayer and trust in God to do even what feels impossible. To be glad that God is bigger than me and believe that He works everything out for good in its time.  Maybe the trick is just being willing to wait for it; to stay in tune with the graces He gives only in the present moment as we live it together.

This is what I think I like the most about prayer not that it changes God but that it changes me.

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Your Daily Dose of Inspiration

lol

So, as you perhaps gleaned from the picture above, I am not a fan of trite inspirational quotes.

I read a lot and I have to confess that there are certain articles and authors I have read that were recommended to me and have substantial readerships- and the writing is absolute garbage.

The style that gets to me the most is the one embodied in those cheesy lifestyle quotes like the one crossed out above. Media that glosses over life and makes it seem like the purpose of life is nothing more than to create a never ending series of enviable Instagram photos. And we measure success by this glossy materialism. Because “successful” people are the ones who manage to convince us that they live like that full time and graciously agree to share their “secret” as they spread their message “if you were just awesome like me you too could be awesome!” And people just eat this up like, “YES! This man is brilliant how shall we thank him for sharing his wisdom?” I mean, I can feel myself tearing up over that piece of profundity as I write.

But in all seriousness, to illustrate my point better I recently came across this delightful article about a man who made twenty-five million before he turned thirty. One of those internet start-up whiz kids from the sound of it. He has a very fancy, visually fetching promotion claiming to share his success story, but do you know what he doesn’t tell you? How he actually made his money or what his company actually does. Instead, he opts to offer advice that’s “transferable” to your life and your business. Gems like, “character is what makes a leader worth following.”

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And he’s going to make even more millions from the millions he gets by encouraging the masses to become millionaires too!

And then he’ll humbly tell us that money and success isn’t the most important thing…

I suppose it’s a nice gimmick if you can get it, but this cycle drives me crazy.

I went through the cycle a lot as I was learning to blog because there really isn’t a secret to success, but everyone tries to market like they have it and can get you 100,000 readers overnight.  It’s like they’re afraid of honesty, admitting that much of success is a matter of chance and nothing teaches quite like experience. And, while I’m happy this guy achieved his goals, I need a more substantial role model to meet my goals because they far exceed the world of business.

I guess what I’m saying is I suppose it bothers me because I’m a Christian and I’m used to ancient wisdom, not just empty phrases featuring feel good “life-pro” tips or shallow tales of successful businessmen who all look the same, but a genuine, life-altering worldview that gets perpetually more beautiful the more I discover it. And when I hear these watered down sugar shots of happy sunshine and instant success (like literary Red Bull) I can’t help but roll my eyes a little, because it’s like opting to stand ankle deep in the kiddie pool when you could be swimming in the ocean (or at least the adult pool with the diving board if you don’t like saltwater and sand.)

Maybe my lousy metaphors don’t do anything for you, but you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say there’s nothing quite like the real thing and these flashy imitations are a waste of your time. So don’t live, laugh, love. Live the life abundant, a life that comprises each moment of time and spans through all eternity. And live each moment well.